The first installment features a book and song that I got into yesterday which both discuss Black women and mental health/ depression. Click 'Read More' to check them out:
Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman's Journey Through Depression, Meri Nana-Ama Danquah
Willow Weep for Me is a book that I have to read for Sociology of Mental Health, a class requirement for minor. I definitely picked this book up super late (*insert moon emoji*) but I started reading it yesterday and I'm absolutely in love with this book. It's been a minute since I found a book I couldn't put down, and the fact that I can't put down a book that is assigned reading for class is unheard of for me. Danquah uses her memoir to of course discuss her own experiences with depression, but this book takes on the role of shedding light on a topic that very few Black women (let alone the Black community at large) are willing to discuss (sans the Black Girl in Om- and Therapy for Black Girls-type content that has become more prevalent).
I'm almost halfway through the book now, and in the first few chapters Danquah gets right to the point in discussing her story with depression. She immediately identifies the various stigmas associated with Black women and depression as well as the social factors that inevitably play a role in our experience with it: "The illusion of strength has been and continues to be of major significance to me as a black woman... Black women are supposed to be strong–caretakers, nurturers, healers of other people–any of the twelve dozen variations of Mammy. Emotional hardship is supposed to be built into the structure of our lives...It seemed that suffering, for a black woman, was part of the package." This is the perfect book to not only analyze the sociological factors that heavily influence Black women's mental health but also, for a Black girl who has suffered from depression, to get a feeling of relief that she is not alone.
For some context, I'd just like to say that Chicago has some gem Soul artists on the rise. I first learned of Jamila Woods, who I've mentioned before, and on her IG story there was a video of a girl performing an acoustic set. I went to her IG page, ended up on her Soundcloud, and found the perfect song to go with Willow Weep for Me (hence the impromptu birth of 'current faves'). 'Lullaby' is literally, the Black girl lullaby. The first verse offers relief for the automatic politicization of being a Black girl. My favorite line says "You don't always have to be the one to save the world/ You're always the one to save the world/ and they never say 'Thank you,' girl." I think this perfectly addresses the "Strong Black Woman" trope that many Black women deal with, even as young girls.
Read: 8 Things I Wish Someone Told Me About Depression As A Black Woman
"I wrote this because it was what I needed to hear at the moment for myself," Tasha explains in an interview with VICE's music channel Noisey. "I was feeling very exhausted." The song serves as an affirmation for herself and an anthem for her audience, which I think can be the same thing said about Danquah and Willow Weep for Me.
Your life is precious/And you'll be alright.
If you like any of the features in 'kési's current faves' and you want to see more of these in the future, let me know. And let me know what your current faves are in the comments or on social media!